Closed, moved military barracks can be turned into green spaces: CHP lawmakers

Closed, moved military barracks can be turned into green spaces: CHP lawmakers

Closed, moved military barracks can be turned into green spaces: CHP lawmakers

Men walk past the Kuleli military high school school on August 4, 2016, on the shores of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul. AFP photo

A number of lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have submitted a draft bill regarding the military barracks that will be moved or closed in accordance with the state of emergency decree after the July 15 failed coup attempt, suggesting that they should be turned into “green spaces,” amid fears that the areas will be opened to construction for commercial interests. 

The draft bill also included the transfer of the buildings of war colleges, military high schools and non-commissioned officer high schools, which were closed after the failed takeover, believed to be carried out by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, to public schools and universities.

The construction of social spaces in the green areas will depend on the unanimous decisions that the councils of districts, provinces and metropolises take, according to the bill. 

The draft bill was submitted by CHP Istanbul deputies Dr. Ali Şeker, Eren Erdem, Selina Doğan and Onursal Adıgüzel, Mersin deputy Fikri Sağlar, Antalya deputy Niyazi Nefi Kara, Balıkesir deputy Mehmet Tüm, Bursa deputy Orhan Sarıbal and Tekirdağ deputy Candan Yüceer.

Saying that following the closure of the military schools the appetite of the “land speculation and cement lobby” has become ravenous regarding the schools and urban military areas in question, Şeker added that the aforementioned areas were the “common property of the people.”

“The common property of the people should be open to the people, not to Ağaoğlu, who recently helped the members of the Gülen movement travel the world,” Şeker said, referring to business mogul Ali Ağaoğlu’s comments on wanting to build houses in a military space in Istanbul’s Levent neighborhood. 

“The military barracks are similar to oases amid a sea of concrete in the metropolises. The places where the citizens say, ‘Fortunately there is a military, so that the space remained green,’ are mostly military spaces,” Şeker also said. 

Meanwhile, Environment and Urbanization Minister Mehmet Özhaseki said that “several” of the military spaces that were due to be evacuated would be used in urban transformation. 

The final decision will be given by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Özhaseki told Turkish broadcaster NTV on Aug. 10.